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In-person SpaldingCon: Post-graduate Writers’ Conference

Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing

SpaldingCon takes place on campus from 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 16, through 12:30 p.m. Friday, November 18. SpaldingCon attendees build their experience around an in-person workshop and other residency curriculum sessions.

Highlights include:

  • Faculty lectures in various areas of concentration

  • Evening events include readings and dine-around meals. (Dine-arounds are Dutch-treat group meals that participants sign up for in advance.)

  • A generative workshop: Six hours of workshop over three days, led by a School of Writing faculty member or guest faculty. Workshop leaders: Kenny Cook, Bruce Marshall Romans, Katerina Stoykova

Workshops meet:

  • 2:45 – 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 16, and Thursday, November 17

  • 10:25 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Friday, November 18

SpaldingCon In-person Workshops

(offered on the Spalding campus or the Brown Hotel)

While workshops focus on writing in distinct focal areas, all workshops at SpaldingCon are open to post-graduate students from any area of concentration. Each workshop has a minimum of five people and a maximum of eight. Spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If there are more than eight applicants, we’ll start a waiting list. Workshop places will be confirmed by September 30.

In-person Workshops:

Book Design Workshop: Short Story Cycles, Novels-in-Stories, and Memoirs-in-Essays

led by K. L. (Kenny) Cook

Focal Area: Fiction, Creative Nonfiction (While the focus of this workshop is on fiction and CNF, alums in other genres may enroll and develop a proposal in their area using the same principles and strategies.)

Worksheet: None

Delivery: In-person, minimum of 5 and maximum of 8 students


  • Read K. L. Cook’s essay, “The Cyclical Imagination: Short Story Cycles, Linked Stories, and Novels-in-Stories” (available as a PDF and also included in his book, The Art of Disobedience).

  • Read Kenny’s Good River Review faculty blog entry, "Parts & Wholes

Short story cycles, linked stories, novels-in-stories, and memoirs-in-essays are particularly well suited for prose writers who want to make the leap from writing stories or essays to writing book-length works. This form is equally compelling for the novelist or memoirist who wants to work in new ways and yearns to take advantage of the short story cycle’s natural reliance on mosaic design and a non-linear aesthetic. It’s also an ideal form for serious readers who want to understand the renaissance of the short story cycle and its impact on not only fiction, but also creative nonfiction, film and television writing, and poetry. It’s ideal for writers and readers who want to immerse themselves in what I call “the cyclical imagination.” In this generative workshop, we will discuss strategies, techniques, and models of this form. I will then help you design and develop a detailed proposal for a short story cycle, a collection of linked stories, a novel-in-stories, or a memoir-in-essays. I will also provide additional supplementary materials and resources during the workshop to help you design, develop, and revise your proposal.

Breaking Story—An Exercise in Figuring Out What Comes Next

led by Bruce Marshall Romans

Focal Area: TV Writing (open to all writers)

Worksheet: None

Delivery: In-person, minimum of 5 and maximum of 8 students

Pre-assignment: A PDF of a script will be sent out by October 16 for students to read before attending the workshop.

This workshop will be focused on the task of “breaking story,” that is to say, figuring out how to figure out what the story is you’re trying to tell and how to tell it. We will do this together by breaking the story of an episode of television and then writing scenes for the episode, including stage direction and scene description, two very important parts of writing dramatic literature. For those students who studied other areas, I will talk about the use and task of using poetry and prose when writing dramatic literature

Photo by Patrick J. Mitchell

Conceiving, Arranging and Editing of a Poetry Collection

led by Katerina Stoykova, guest faculty

Focal Area: Poetry

Worksheet: None

Delivery: In-person, minimum of 5 and maximum of 8 students

Pre-assignment: Come to workshop with printouts of all poems you might consider including in a manuscript.

This workshop is for poets who have accumulated a body of work that has not yet been published in a book volume. The objective is to help each participant transform their pile of poems into the first draft of a poetry manuscript.

Participants prepare by bringing printouts of all poems they might consider including in a manuscript. A lecture will be presented in the first hour of each meeting. The rest of the time will be devoted to a discussion of the individual manuscripts, and the poets will have an opportunity to receive feedback on their work and guidance on specific questions, doubts or difficulties they might be experiencing.

The workshop is designed to provide a balance between theory and practice. The lecture topics explore ideas of how to develop a manuscript concept, how to discover themes and threads among the poems, how to organize versions and work in progress, how to arrange the poems into a fairly stress-free first draft by utilizing the bonded-pair approach, and best practices that could contribute to successful editing and finetuning of the manuscript.

If participants are willing to follow up between sessions and complete the (very reasonable) homework, by the end of the workshop, they will have prepared the first draft of a manuscript and will have formulated a set of next steps to pursue on their own towards completing a publishable manuscript of poetry.

Katerina’s bio: Katerina Stoykova is the author of several award-winning poetry books in English and Bulgarian, as well as the Senior Editor of Accents Publishing, where she has selected, edited, and published over 80 poetry collections. Her latest book, Second Skin (ICU, 2018, Bulgarian) received the Vanya Konstantinova biannual national poetry award, as well as a grant from the European Commission's program Creative Europe for translation and publication in English. Katerina acted in the lead roles for the independent feature films Proud Citizen and Fort Maria, both directed by Thom Southerland. Her poems have been translated into German, Spanish, Ukrainian, Bangla, Farsi, and a volume of her selected poems, translated into Arabic by acclaimed poet Khairi Hamdan, is forthcoming in Arabic from Dar Al Biruni press.


Early-bird registration with reduced cost of $450: deadline Wednesday, September 7. Regular registration pricing of $495 by the September 12 deadline.

To register, fill out this form. We’ll confirm your place in the workshop by September 30. Payment is due by October 15.

Accommodations: Rooms may be available at the Brown Hotel for $135 per night (includes tax) and can be requested through the registration form linked above (first come, first served). Notification of room availability will be sent by September 30. If the reservation is confirmed, the room payment is also due by October 15.

Proof of vaccination: The Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing is requiring all students, faculty, alumni, and guests to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before attending the fall residency. See complete information at the end of the registration form.

Payment and Cancellation for SpaldingCon

Full payment is due by October 15

85% refund through October 31.

50% of fee will be refunded November 1 through November 13

No refund after November 13

Cancellation policy for rooms at the Brown

Full refund through November 13. After that, full refund minus any charges made by the Brown Hotel.

Questions? Email Karen Mann at


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